Cherry-Vanilla Layer Cake

It’s cold outside and the landscape is dreary.  And the jolly celebration of Christmas and New Year’s is over.  I can’t think of a better time to make –and share– a pretty cake.

My sights have been set on a pink scratch-made maraschino cake, and trying to find a recipe for one has been a little like trying to find Waldo.  The same recipe kept popping everywhere I looked. You know, the one that uses a white cake mix as a base?  I tried that one, but it was not what I was looking for.

I wanted scratch-made.  I wanted complete control of what went into my cake, and I wanted it to taste bakery fresh.  That doesn’t seem like such a tall order, right?

Alas. The recipe I had been looking for was in an old fundraiser cookbook (love those!).  It took a some mild tweaking, but now it’s ready to share!

The frosting is the Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe from my cookbook.  I gave it a generous dose of vanilla, which is a nice compliment to the cherry cake.

I also want to mention that I made this cake in two 7″ springform pans.  I cannot tell you how much I love and use this size pan.  It makes cakes a little smaller in circumference, but they are slightly taller.  I love this profile!  You don’t have to adjust the ingredient amounts of a double layer cake recipe to accommodate the pans.  Just divide the original amount of batter between two (or three) 7″ pans and adjust baking times according to the amount of batter in the pan.

The original recipe for this maraschino cherry cake indicates the use of one 9″ cake pan.  As you can see, it divides beautifully between two 7″ pans.

Other Tidbits:

  • I may be venturing into the world of video podcasting soon. It all depends on whether or not I can stand the sound of my own voice.
  • I am in major like with my new “special purpose” camera.  It’s so much fun, and there’s something great about capturing the moment with no hope of digital editing, no turning back.  
  • I’m completely obsessed with the 90’s TV show Northern Exposure, and about to watch the series from beginning to end again.  It’s not often that I recommend watching television, but this show… it is special.

Cherry-Vanilla Layer Cake


Serves 8-10                                                                                                        
[click for printable recipe]

Maraschino Cake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup whole milk

1/2 cup maraschino cherry juice

2 teaspoons almond extract

2 tablespoons flour for sprinkling over diced cherries

10 oz bottle maraschino cherries, finely chopped

Drop or two of red food coloring, or Americolor Deep Pink food coloring gel *optional

4 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks

  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees. 
    Grease two 7” spring-form pans (or one 9”) and line with parchment
    paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand
    mixer until creamy.   In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt
    and baking powder .  Combine milk,cherry juice and almond extract, and add alternately to the butter and sugar with the flour
    mixture.
  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of flour over
    the diced cherries and stir until the flour has been completely absorbed.  Note: It’s okay if the cherries still have a little
    juice on them after this. 
  4. Stir cherries into the batter. 
    Stir in food coloring if desired
  5. Fold stiffly beaten egg whites into the batter.  Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for
    50-60 minutes.   Remove from pan and allow to cool completely
    on a wire rack.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting:

5 egg whites

1 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature

3 teaspoons clear vanilla extract

  1. Set a saucepan filled one-third full of water over
    medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large
    heatproof bowl. Set over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot
    to the touch and the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted
    with the whisk attachment.
  4. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Increase to medium-high
    until stiff peaks are formed.
  5. Continue beating at medium-high speed until the mixture is
    fluffy and has cooled (the mixing bowl should feel cool to the touch).
  6. Turn the mixer off and switch from the whisk attachment to
    the paddle. Turn the mixer on medium-low and add the butter, a few cubes at a
    time, beating until well incorporated before the next addition.
  7. Add the vanilla extract. 
    Divide batter and tint with food coloring, if desired.  I kept a little un-tinted frosting out to
    pipe around the edges of the cake. To achieve my favoriteblue/green tint, I
    used a dot each of Sky Blue and Kelly Green Wilton gel food colorings.
  8. Beat until the frosting is thick and completely smooth.
  9. Store in an airtight container until ready for use. 


Note:
The heart topper is a piece of gum paste with a piece of clean, unused floral wire inserted through the center. The surface was brushed with corn syrup and dipped in multicolored sprinkles.

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Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

I'm an absolute sucker for Maraschino Cherries and I adore the color of this cake! What a neat burst of color on a dull January day :).

I grabbed a couple 7-inch round cake pans at Williams-Sonoma a couple years ago. I didn't have a specific use in mind, but I knew I'd find a use for them someday.

🙂
ButterYum

Amanda
Amanda
9 years ago

I was JUST thinking to myself… I like my 8in pans and I like my 6in pans, but I want to try 7in. I didnt even know they existed… now I have got to find some! Gorgeous cake! Cant wait for your beautiful book!

Heather (Heather's Dish)
Heather (Heather's Dish)
9 years ago

i LOVE 7" pans too…so cute and the perfect size for small gatherings (Lord knows the last thing i need to do is make a whole cake for just me and my hubby!)

Meg @ write meg!
Meg @ write meg!
9 years ago

So, so pretty, and I love the Tiffany blue! My favorite hue. And I'm sure it tastes as delicious as it looks.

Pink Patisserie
Pink Patisserie
9 years ago

Simply gorgeous! Aqua and pink and cherry! So perfect together. It just makes me smile!

cookies and cups
cookies and cups
9 years ago

Beauty. That is all.

Maria
Maria
9 years ago

Such a pretty cake! Love it!

Rachel @ Baked by Rachel
Rachel @ Baked by Rachel
9 years ago

This is SO pretty Heather! Great job 🙂

Sara
Sara
9 years ago

Gorgeous cake!! This is absolutely lovely – looks really delicious! 🙂

Megan
Megan
9 years ago

Seafoam and pink is just the best combo. And that heart on top has me sold even more! Love this cake. <3 Just the sight of it makes my friday better. 🙂

SamCyn
SamCyn
9 years ago

Maraschino cherries are one of my favorites…takes me back to my childhood…I've got to make this soon!

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

I knew I liked you when I started reading your blog. I really like you now that I know you are obsessing over Northern Exposure. Ed Chigliak will always the bomb!

Rosa's Yummy Yums
Rosa's Yummy Yums
9 years ago

This cake is wonderfully girly looking. What a beauty. Droolicious! ;-P

Cheers,

Rosa

Cookbook Queen
Cookbook Queen
9 years ago

So gorgeous!! Wouldn't you know, I made a cherry vanilla cake yesterday (using a mix, of course). Great minds!!

I am in LOVE with that heart on top.

And podcast?! YES!!!

DessertForTwo
DessertForTwo
9 years ago

I've never seen such a beautiful cake! Love the frosting color!!

vanillasugarblog
vanillasugarblog
9 years ago

ahhh northern exposure. see i could live there if only those people were there otherwise I hate winter and rather live in cali. lol
those colors in the cake are fab my dear

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

This is so pretty I'm going to cry! That icing rocks my socks!

Angsthase
Angsthase
9 years ago

LOVE Northern Exposure + LOVE the look of this cake. Maybe a combination of the two is gonna happen this weekend? Hmmm…

Sugar Swings
Sugar Swings
9 years ago

so pretty! love the color contrast (just did barely blue buttercream for cupcakes so i am a little biased!)…is the heart on top edible??

Lauren at Keep It Sweet
Lauren at Keep It Sweet
9 years ago

The colors in that cake are just gorgeous! I can see why you like the taller slightly smaller cake layers. Do you have a recommendation for a good spring-form pan? Mine is a disaster!

Dharma
Dharma
9 years ago

Que maravilloso Layer, la combinacion de colores es elegantisima. Le deseo un feliz dia.

Foodiewife
Foodiewife
9 years ago

Amen and halleluia. I just can't dig cake box mix recipes any longer. There's something gratifying about making a cake from scratch. Thank you for doing all the tweaking to make a childhood favorite cake a possibility in my own home. Book? Is it out yet? I'm waiting to buy it, as I totally admire your skills behind the lens, and your artistic presentation of your beautiful recipes.

amanda @ fake ginger
amanda @ fake ginger
9 years ago

Gorgeous!

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

I can't wait to make this! It looks absolutely delicious.

Rhiannon
Rhiannon
9 years ago

The little camera you posted about is amazing! I might have to buy one. And your cake looks gorgeous, as always.

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
9 years ago

Heather, this cake is a work of ART! The contrasting colors of the pink with the Tiffany blue (one of my fave colors)…oh it's just too gorgeous to eat. Well, almost 🙂

Leslie
Leslie
9 years ago

Sooo pretty and such captivating colors! Swiss meringue is my FAV

Michele
Michele
9 years ago

What a gorgeous color combination. I bet it was delicious too. 😉

Chels/Catz in the Kitchen
Chels/Catz in the Kitchen
9 years ago

Heather, you did it again, your pictures made me drool all over the place!

My Little Expat Kitchen
My Little Expat Kitchen
9 years ago

This cake is stunning! You always make the prettiest cakes, I love coming to this space of yours Heather.
Magda

Lora
Lora
9 years ago

Another gorgeous creation. I love cherry vanilla combined. This goes to the top of my to bake liststat!

Cindy
Cindy
9 years ago

The cake is gorgeous — simple yet elegant and fun! I'm wondering, where did you buy your 7 x 3 springform pans?

Krissy's Creations
Krissy's Creations
9 years ago

What an adorable cake Heather! I've never tried a maraschino cherry cake before, so I can;t wait to try yours 🙂

Johnny
Johnny
9 years ago

Very pretty Heather! Looks so delicious!

christina @ ovenadventures
christina @ ovenadventures
9 years ago

this cake is so, so pretty. I'm so jealous of your mad skills. 🙂

Jessica @ How Sweet
Jessica @ How Sweet
9 years ago

this is probably the most gorgeous cake i've ever seen. EVER.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

Beautiful!!

RecipeGirl
RecipeGirl
9 years ago

It's too pretty to eat. Really!

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

great color pairing, that blue and pink are smashing together.

Gloria
Gloria
9 years ago

What a BEAUTIFUL colored cake!! Love it! I also LOVE Northern Exposure. I used to watch it when it was on TV when I was pregnant with my son (21 years ago!) – I can't even say which one of those quirky people is my favorite… I think they ALL are! Enjoy watching it, Heather!
Best,
Gloria

Tamara
Tamara
9 years ago

it look fantastic!

JLL24
JLL24
9 years ago

Its the perfect cake to make for a party my son has to attend. LOVE IT! Can't wait to make it! THANKS a MILLION!

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

The cake looks beautiful! I really like the different colors you used, it makes the cake look so pretty, well that and the fact that you have awesome cake skills.

Mommyof2girlz/StephD
Mommyof2girlz/StephD
9 years ago

LOVE the color of the cake and frosting let alone that is looks so delish! Found you via Pinterest and so glad I did, thanks for sharing the recipe!

Martina Breidenstein
Martina Breidenstein
9 years ago

love the colors!

Paula
Paula
9 years ago

The uncut cake is beautiful and the cut cake is stunning with that rich pink colour bursting out.

Kathy
Kathy
9 years ago

Beautiful

Mini Baker
Mini Baker
9 years ago

how beautiful1!!!

Jennalicious
Jennalicious
9 years ago

I love receiving your blog in my emails. After reading your post I HAD to run to the store and get cherries. Made the most delicious cake last night and cannot wait to take it over to my neighborhood party tonight. I'll send you pics! THANK YOU for such an inspiring, "have to do this" moment.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

This is so pretty – I love the unusual combination of colours and the flavours sound fab! I don't have a baking tin that small but might have to invest – smaller cakes are so cute.